This Sunday the Spanish go to the polls to vote in elections to the European Parliament, and so voting slips have begun arriving in our mailbox from the various political parties. I have to say, they are not very helpful. The list gives the names of all those on the party's list of candidates from which, depending on the share of the vote gained, MEPs will be selected. Unfortunately they say absolutely nothing about the candidates, not even whereabouts in Spain they might be found. In addition there is a sheet in the envelope which sets out in the very briefest of terms what the party stands for.
The expectation is that two parties will dominate the results, PSOE (socialist) and PP (conservative). Both parties are deeply unpopular, but there are no credible alternatives to make inroads into their hegemony. In the same way, national, regional and provincial governments are either PSOE or PP led. The minor parties are either out towards the extremes like IU ( united left, a grouping of communist and anarchist parties) or regional like PA ( the Andalucian Party), which I support in local elections, and which runs the town hall in Frigiliana and a handful of other towns. Otherwise, these are small parties with big ambitions but few converts, like UPyD (calling for a complete reform of the democratic process in Spain to give a more effective voice to the ordinary citizen). A cynical analysis of Spanish politics describes a vicious circle which I suspect would find a sympathetic response from many British voters; I shall give you the less coarse version.
You elect PSOE
They screw you, so
You elect PP
They screw you, so
You elect PSOE
Continue ad infinitum.
A friend in Madrid explained to me his predicament as someone disillusioned with both main parties. He has no desire to vote for either, but is not drawn towards any of the minor parties either. So he could abstain from voting. But that would be of advantage to the main parties because their active supporters will find it easier to build up their percentage share of the vote, which gets them more seats. Alternatively, he could register a 'voto en blanco'. This apparently means that you take into the booth the envelope given to you to hold your voting slip. You seal it without putting any slip inside, then emerge and post it into the ballot box. Unfortunately, this also benefits the two major parties. Although the envelope is empty it counts as a valid vote; minor parties must achieve a minimum of 3% of the votes cast in order to qualify for any seats. Your valid vote makes it harder for them by increasing the number of votes cast, and therefore increasing the number of votes needed to achieve 3%. He has a solution, however; the 'voto nul'. You take the envelope into the booth and place in it TWO party slips, seal it and pop it into the ballot box. That is not allowed, and so your vote is not valid and is not counted. I must admit that I admire the ingenuity.
Hace seis años empezé este blog principalmente para mi interés personal, observando como me encontraba viviendo en un pueblo de Andalucía, pero también para hacer conocer a mis amigos y amigas en el Reino Unido algo de la gente, la cultura, las costumbres y tal de mi nuevo hogar. Actualmente la cifra de visitas a mi blog ha pasado 7.500, la mayoría desde el Reino Unido, los EE.UU,y España, pero una menoría de diversos países por todo el mundo.
Un cambio profunda y personal durante estos años ha sido como ha crecido mi dominio del español. Al principio intentaba escribir dos blogs, uno en inglés, el otro en castellano; muy ambicioso, pero fuera de mi capacidad. El blog castellano murió antes de cumplir su primer año.
La pregunta que ahora dirijo a mis lectores españoles es, ¿pensáis que es hora para dar luz otra vez a un blog en español? y si sí, ¿de qué debería tratar? Me alegro de antemano de recibir vuestr@s respuestas.